CEO pay has dropped but they still earn 160 times more than the average worker

FTSE 100 chief execs saw their pay decrease 17 per cent this year but they still earn £4.5m on average.

The average pay of a FTSE 100 chief executive has dropped by 17 per cent from £5.4m in 2015 to £4.5m this year, but they’re still 160 times better off than the average worker in Britain.

Analysis by the High Pay Centre showed that the average worker in Britain on £28,000 a year would have to work for 160 years to earn the average renumeration of an average FTSE 100 CEO.

The data also shows that on average male FTSE 100 bosses earned 77 per cent more than their female counterparts — furthermore, there are only 6 female CEOs in the FTSE 100 list.

Although the figure for top earners has dropped slightly this year, the gulf is still massive and in historic terms, FTSE 100 CEOs are doing extremely well.

In 1980, a FTSE 100 CEO earned on average 18 times more than the average worker; in 2016 the CEO is earning 160 times more, a ten fold increase.

Here’s a graph illustrating the scale of the gap that has developed over the past thirty years:

Director of the High Pay Centre, Stefan Stern, commented on today’s figures:

“We have finally seen a fall in executive pay this year, in the context of political pressure and in the spotlight of hostile public opinion. This is welcome, but the response has been limited and very late”

One of the highest earners on the lift, Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, received £48.1 million in pay last year alone. To put that salary in perspective, it would take the average worker in the UK (on £28,000) 1,718 years to earn the equivalent.

Whilst CEO pay has mushroomed over the past twenty years, real wages for average workers in the UK have actually dropped:

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, commented on the disparity:

“The fall in executive pay is a step in the right direction, but it’s still happening within an overall reward system where average wages in the UK have been flat”

The figures confirm yet again what many of us know and fear, said Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary: “We all know we live in a very unequal society – but these figures really bring home the scandalous gulf between rich and the rest”. Adding:

“Working people create the wealth in this country – and they are sick and tired of fat cat bosses getting all the cream, especially when everyone else suffers squeezed living standards.


Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.